To the editor: After 27 years of draining and refilling the oil of the 30-hp Atomic 4 on my boat Theodora I can appreciate the consternation of the de Grasses with the messy job of oil changing they described in a recent issue (“Changing engine oil,” Issue No. 159, Jan./Feb. 2007).
However, the method they describe is nowhere near the neat solution to the problem. I have mounted a 3-by-5-inch Quick-Drain pump out of sight on the inside of the bulkhead of the engine compartment. The oil sump drain tube is easily attached permanently to the pump inlet, and the pump outlet hose, fitted with a removable cap to prevent dripping, is left in the engine compartment. At any convenient time, the outlet hose is placed into an empty antifreeze jug and the engine oil is totally emptied in two minutes by activating the push-button switch on the top of the pump. It is a pleasure to change the oil.
If one is overly frugal, as (sail) boaters have a tendency to be, one might shy away from buying a pump. On the other hand, to get away from all the mess that the de Grasses reminded me of when I read their piece makes the pump well worth the purchase price. This method of oil removal should be provided as standard equipment for all sailboat auxiliaries.
Peter Fowler lives in Ipswich, Mass., and sails his Catalina-30 Theodora from Plum Island Sound.